Total-Body Training: Why It's Best and How To Do It

Rear-Foot-Elevated Split-Squat ExerciseOne of the most common ways to work out is to train specific muscle groups each day. For example, you might do legs, chest and back on one day and devote another to core work. But when do athletes ever use only one part of their body on the field? Never.

Instead, I recommend focusing on total-body training, which closely matches how you use your body on the field.

Purpose of Total-Body Training

Total-body training teaches your body to function as a unit instead of a collection of independent parts. The idea is to focus on movements, not muscles. (Learn more about functional training.) This is achieved by performing exercises that involve multiple joints and that engage several muscle groups, such as the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press.

Each and every one of your workouts should involve every muscle group and joint. Make sure to go through a full range of motion and train in every direction. Also, it's best to incorporate balance, coordination, stability and flexibility exercises to cover all aspects of performance.

How to Structure a Workout

Below are three groups of exercises with two categories per group. Take two exercises from each group (one from each category, 6 exercises total) and perform them as paired supersets. (Learn about the benefits of supersets.) Unless it's a bodyweight exercise, choose a weight that's about 75 to 80% of your one-rep max. For bodyweight exercises, perform 10 reps per set. Aim for three to five sets, resting 30 seconds between exercises, and one minute between groups of exercises.


Push Exercises

Pull Exercises


Push Exercises

Pull Exercises


Rotational Exercises

Torso Exercises

How to Schedule Total-Body Workouts

Perform this workout two to three days, per week, with at least one rest day between sessions. Make sure to vary your exercise choices.

Brian Lebo Brian Lebo - Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping athletes improve...
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